Industry pays tribute to ‘curry legend’ Peter Grove

The Indian restaurant sector has been paying tribute to Peter Grove, founder of National Curry Week and the Curry Tree charitable foundation. 

Peter died suddenly on June 15 while on holiday on Gran Canaria with his family. He was 74.

He started the Best in Britain Awards (BIBA) for the Asian restaurant sector in 1992, followed by National Curry Week (originally National Curry Day) in 1997 and Curry Capital of Britain in 1999.

Now in its 19th year, National Curry Week allows home cooks, curry restaurants, caterers and pubs to celebrate the cuisine and culture with special dinners designed to generate charitable funds.

The highlight of National Curry Week is the Curry Capital of Britain, where cities compete for the coveted award, through a combination of the quality of their food and fund-raising activities. The idea behind the event, which has been held annually since 2001, arose from adverse publicity following racial unrest in parts of London which spread to other cities across the UK.

The motivation was to provide a showcase for UK cities to promoting multi culturalism. The focus is on the cooperation between the council, restaurants and education bodies to promote the curry industry, alleviating unemployment and promote community cohesion.  Only five cities have been named Curry Capital: Bradford, Glasgow, Leicester, Birmingham and West London.

Peter’s widow Colleen, to whom he was married for 30 years, said: “I can think of no better lasting tribute than to continue the work he started with National Curry Week and The Curry Capital of Britain. Their role in highlighting the contribution made to the wider community by the Asian restaurant industry was a message that was very dear to him.”

Asian Catering Federation chairman Yawar Khan led the tributes: “He was a great man. He gave me great support and advice. I will always remember him. He was honest man who made a massive contribution to the curry industry.”

Frank Sequeira, director of Goa Premium Beer, which is a supporter of National Curry Week, said: “I have known Peter since 2001 when I was with Kingfisher Beer and worked with him on BIBA and National Curry week for many years. He was a wonderful and cheerful man and a pleasure to be with. He is a great loss to the curry industry. Our prayers are with Colleen and the children.”

Minesh Agnihotri, owner chef of Indian Summer in Brighton, said: “It was lovely talking to Peter about our mutual passion for Indian food.  It was an honour to be chosen by him to host the city’s bid to become Curry Capital of Britain last year. I was also privileged to work with him on his charity efforts. May his soul rest in peace.”

Peter is survived by four daughters: Samantha and Corrie from his first marriage and Stephanie and Madeline from his marriage to Colleen.

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